This Month in Provincial History

Jocelyn Thomas Features

Some notable events that took place in the month of December through the years around Holy Name Province:

One Year Ago
Dec. 17, 2017 – Emeric Szlezak, OFM, commemorated his 100th birthday with a Mass celebrated by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, that was attended by a large gathering of friars, friends and family at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Five Years Ago
Dec. 5, 2013 – The world mourned the death of Nelson Mandela at age 95, as people around the globe expressed their admiration for the South African leader who, after spending nearly three decades in prison, became his nation’s president and a symbol for peace and reconciliation. Holy Name Province friars and their partners-in-ministry commented on the impact of the man who inspired millions.

Dec. 31, 2013 – The HNP Development Office launched a prayer initiative from the social networking platform Instagram. Called “90 Prayers for 90 Days,” this digital “insta-inspiration” delivered spiritual messages to the faithful, enabling more people to get to know the Franciscans. Brother Finias, a friar cartoon character, led followers through a daily prayer intention posted on the Instagram account thefranciscans.

10 Years Ago
Dec. 22, 2008 – A one-month advertising campaign about the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province was rolled out in train cars throughout the New York City subway system. The colorful ads – in both English and Spanish – were placed on all train lines. The publicity caught the attention of major media outlets, including National Public Radio and the Today show. Since then, the Vocation Office has expanded its communication methods to use social media services and platforms to attract interest and attention.

Dec. 18, 2008 – Holy Name Province’s skilled healthcare facility in Ringwood received the highest possible rating after a review by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Holy Name Friary received a five-star rating from CMS, which evaluated 15,000 public, private and nonprofit nursing homes in the United States.

Dec.1, 2008 – CREATE, the social services agency established nearly 40 years ago by Benedict Taylor, OFM, hosted an open house at its Lenox Avenue office in New York City. CREATE planned the event “to support effective service coordination in challenging times,” according to the invitation. Guests represented government and private organizations that help people cope with life’s challenges, including family, job skills, behavior and healthcare. On October 3 of this year, CREATE opened a new facility for young homeless adult men, most recovering from chemical abuse and recently released from incarceration for non-violent infractions, to help them assimilate back into society.

20 Years Ago
Dec. 16, 1998 – The first Mass was celebrated at the new location of St. Francis Chapel – the popular Franciscan mall ministry at Wolf Road Shoppers Park in Colonie, N.Y., not far from Siena College in Loudonville. Previously, the chapel had been located at the Northway Mall in Albany. Earlier this year, Charles O’Connor, OFM, talked warmly about mall ministry and the chapel, which is nestled among restaurants, banks and retail outlets, in an interview for an article in HNP Today about his 50th anniversary as a friar.

25 Years Ago
Dec. 31, 1993 – St. Francis Retreat Center in Rye Beach, N.H., concluded its formally scheduled programs, according to The Provincial Annals. It had operated since 1967 when the Province’s philosophy program, at what was then called St. Francis College, had been closed down.

Jocelyn Thomas is communications director for Holy Name Province.

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